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Living with the UN: American Responsibilities and International Order (Hoover Institution Press Publication) 1st Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0817913441
ISBN-10: 0817913440
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"For that matter, why is there still a United Nations at all? How has it managed to survive over time, from 1945 down to the present--given its long record of underperformance, frequent outright failure, and even more frequent irrelevance, even on its own underwhelming terms?"--Chapter 1, pg. 14

From the Inside Flap

Since the first days of the new presidency, the Obama administration has continued to seek a definition of the US relationship to the United Nations. From the time of president’s first appearances at the General Assembly and the Security Council, his watchwords have been “engagement” and “multilateralism.” But Americans and non-Americans, allies and enemies, have wondered from the beginning just what those terms mean as actual policy of the United States of America.

In Living with the UN, Kenneth Anderson attempts to set out the meanings of multilateralism and engagement with the United Nations in a fashion that can actually guide policy. Anderson explains that there are many United Nations, for it is a collection of different institutions, organs, actors, functions, motives, and motivations. Once the multiplicity of the United Nations is on the table, he shows, it becomes possible to see that there are multiple ways of engaging (or not) with it—or with them. He then provides approximate rules of thumb that can guide US policy as the presumptive starting point for how, or how not, to engage with the United Nations in its particular parts and functions.

Anderson argues convincingly that the goal of the United States cannot be simply to make the United Nations more efficient and effective, however much one might wish it. He shows that a more responsive, better-run, and generally more effective United Nations would not always operate in America’s interest. Rather, a genuinely effective United Nations would almost certainly be, in important matters, more effectively anti-American to both its policies and its ideals. Thus the author’s ultimate answer to the question of when the United States should engage with the United Nations is a resounding sometimes. Despite the extensive and severe criticism of the United Nations that Anderson offers throughout this book, he acknowledges that the useful functions of the institution are many and varied and that the United States should support and promote them.

With unrelenting candor throughout, Living with the UN outlines a pragmatic, overarching policy framework for the United States in its long-term relations with the United Nations during the Obama administration and beyond.

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Product Details

  • Series: Hoover Institution Press Publication (Book 609)
  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Hoover Institution Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817913440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817913441
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,337,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I usually hate books like this, partly because I don't really care about the subject matter and partly because they're written for people who are already experts on the subject matter. But Ken Anderson's book is different: it is incisive without being condescending or incomprehensible and, surprisingly, it is engaging. Before I read Living with the UN, I did not have an opinion on the United Nations either way, but after reading it the last thing I want is for my taxpayer money to go to this corrupt institution.
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Format: Hardcover
I am not usually one to be intrigued by books concerning the current political scene, especially about topics where I don't know much material. Once I started reading Living With the UN by Ken Anderson, I was immediately fascinated by the extremely well written book about our country and world. It also helped me in understanding the UN better, since my history course entails concepts of the UN. I strongly recommend this book for enjoyment, but it is also a great resource papers, projects etc. This is one of the best books i have read recently.
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Format: Hardcover
Unlike most books that provide information about organizations or councils such as the UN, Living with the UN by Kenneth Anderson explains the situation by guiding the reader throughout the book, instead of just giving countless facts for hundreds of pages. Being a high school student, I find understanding such books quite difficult to read, in addition to being boring. However, this book makes it easier to understand the current situation by providing interesting metaphors and examples. For example, Mr. Anderson initially compares the UN to a Sickly Sapling that "still holds out the promise of growing to become a glorious overarching tree" (page 29). In addition, the book uses literary devices throughout the book that helps students like me better understand and connect with the UN. For example, the use of anaphora's (repetition of a word several times really helps engrave key concepts into my mind. Overall, Living with the UN by Kenneth Anderson is a great book that really helps in the understanding of the current situation and influence of the UN. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who wishes to get a real and unchanged view of the UN that is at the same time easy to comprehend and also instructive.
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Format: Hardcover
Being a teenager, and one who is not particularly interested in politics, I was intially unexcited to read a book about a confusing topic which i did not know much about. However, after my parents insisted I read the book, I found it to be clear, concise, and engaging. An enligtening and new perspective about an orginization that is rarely covered and requires millions of taxpayer dollars to achieve relatively little throuhout its long history of unmet expectations. I encourage all to read this book, regardless of your age or interest in global affairs, what a great book!
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Format: Hardcover
I am a high school student doing a report on the United Nations. I had trouble finding great sources for my report. While at my parents dinner party, i listened to many adults rave about a new book that had just been published.After listening for a longer time, i discovered it was Kenneth Anderson's new book. I began the book that night, and was unable to put it down because it was so intriguing. After reading the book I was able to create a one of a kind report on the United Nations that blew away all my teachers. I generally am not much of a reader, but i must say this book is out of this world, and a must read for all. I would recommend it to people of all ages and of all interests because it is just that well written!!!!
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Format: Hardcover
Everyone has books that they must read, or are talked into reading by a friend, parent, or colleague. This book was one of them. Usually, what I do is try and read the first few chapters, and pretend that I read the entire thing, which was what I planned on doing for this book. Living with the UN looks like any other boring book that one keeps in their bookshelves to look smart, or puts near their beds so that the inner insomniac inside everyone can eventually fall asleep after a few heavy duty pages or chapters. Despite my poor intentions, I actually read, and enjoyed this book whole-heartedly. I thought that I knew the UN, and had my views on its relationship with the modern world and America, but after Ken Anderson's surprisingly good read, I have to change the way I think about this supposedly perfect organization. Unfortunately, I judged this book prematurely, but hopefully, everyone else should not make my mistake, and read it- in its entirety. I recommend this book to anyone involved or interested in foreign policy, or anyone who wants to be surprised by truths you can't believe.
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Format: Hardcover
"Living with the UN" by Kenneth Anderson was a comprehensible book that I found very valuable to read. As someone who is interested in international relations I was very engaged. I was immediately struck by Anderson's discussion about the UN being a failure today but a hope for tomorrow. Let's hope the UN will become a glorious tree, rather than a sickly sapling.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is so easy to understand, yet still extremely thought provoking. I used to think the U.N was a successful organization that couldn't be improved, yet this book changed my view on foreign affairs forever. The UN seems to be ineffective, and Kenneth Anderson provides many interesting reasons for how it should be improved. Read this book if you want to learn about the UN at all, or foreign affairs. Kenneth Anderson is an incredible mind, and he is very intriguing.
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